'Til we reach the next stage

A diary of performers and performance in Oxford


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As far as I’m aware, Joe Briggs has only performed live on four occasions and three of them have been brilliant. Three out of four ain’t bad. The sonorous warmth of John Walters’ northern vowels with the verbal dexterity of a bearded Virginia Woolf, if she was a thrash punk aficionado. That’s the sort of linguistic aesthetic Joe embodies, though thankfully, he makes it all accessible and exhilarating.

As far as I’m aware, Joe Briggs has only performed live on four occasions and three of them have been brilliant. Three out of four ain’t bad. The sonorous warmth of John Walters’ northern vowels with the verbal dexterity of a bearded Virginia Woolf, if she was a thrash punk aficionado. That’s the sort of linguistic aesthetic Joe embodies, though thankfully, he makes it all accessible and exhilarating.

Wyndham Lewis’s ‘Composition’ is a typical example of early 20th Century Vorticist art. Vorticism was a home-grown and short-lived response to the modernist art movements of Cubism and Futurism in Europe. It’s momentum was irrevocably broken by the advent of World War 1, in which several adherents of the movement fought. Wyndham Lewis, the driving force behind Vorticism was a flawed, trucculent and brilliant individual and his 1913 painting is the symbol of Oxford Arts Group www.meetup.com/art-454 the social group I run for lovers of the creative arts in Oxford. We are eclectic, inclusive, sometimes chaotic and have come together to support and appreciate some of the most extraordinary performers on the fringes of the art world over the last 18 months. 

Wyndham Lewis’s ‘Composition’ is a typical example of early 20th Century Vorticist art. Vorticism was a home-grown and short-lived response to the modernist art movements of Cubism and Futurism in Europe. It’s momentum was irrevocably broken by the advent of World War 1, in which several adherents of the movement fought. Wyndham Lewis, the driving force behind Vorticism was a flawed, trucculent and brilliant individual and his 1913 painting is the symbol of Oxford Arts Group www.meetup.com/art-454 the social group I run for lovers of the creative arts in Oxford. We are eclectic, inclusive, sometimes chaotic and have come together to support and appreciate some of the most extraordinary performers on the fringes of the art world over the last 18 months. 

For those unable to access Pop-Wreck!’s Blackwells performance, here’s the first tune of the evening, ‘A life in rhyme’. Further lo-fi recordings and a history of the band in photos, ‘Pop-Wr(ex-!)’ can be found here: www.myspace.com/bombtheband

Former president of Oxford University poetry society and one of the best poets I’ve seen this year, Miss Clarissa Pabi. There’s very little of Clarissa’s work available online, but that’s all the more reason to see her live. Her style is original, erudite and utterly hypnotic.

Former president of Oxford University poetry society and one of the best poets I’ve seen this year, Miss Clarissa Pabi. There’s very little of Clarissa’s work available online, but that’s all the more reason to see her live. Her style is original, erudite and utterly hypnotic.

The poster for Eight Cuts Gallery’s ‘This is Oxford’, featuring from left to right, Dan Holloway, Lucy Ayrton, Sophia Satchell Baeza and Anna Hobson. ‘This is Oxford’ was a great evening, featuring some of Oxford’s finest spoken word talent, several of whom performed at the Arts Group party at Christmas.

The poster for Eight Cuts Gallery’s ‘This is Oxford’, featuring from left to right, Dan Holloway, Lucy Ayrton, Sophia Satchell Baeza and Anna Hobson. ‘This is Oxford’ was a great evening, featuring some of Oxford’s finest spoken word talent, several of whom performed at the Arts Group party at Christmas.

Ray Keenoy, publisher of the Babel Guides and one of the most endearing and idiosyncratic characters in the whole city. Ray opened procedings at the Arts Group party and immediately alienated almost everybody with his scurrilous prose. Unperturbed, he returned in the second half with an equally uncompromising monologue that left one guest struggling to suppress his giggles for fifteen agonising minutes in the face of stony audience silence. One convert at a time, Ray.

Ray Keenoy, publisher of the Babel Guides and one of the most endearing and idiosyncratic characters in the whole city. Ray opened procedings at the Arts Group party and immediately alienated almost everybody with his scurrilous prose. Unperturbed, he returned in the second half with an equally uncompromising monologue that left one guest struggling to suppress his giggles for fifteen agonising minutes in the face of stony audience silence. One convert at a time, Ray.

The interior of The Albion Beatnik store in Oxford. A coffee-house-cum bookshop in Jericho, which also serves as a venue for all kinds of literary and musical events. It’s one of the most magical places in the city and where I made my spoken word debut this year reading from ‘Off-Centre Parting’ on a sofa just behind the table nearest the camera. The first quarter of the novel can be found, in reverse chapter order here: http://offcentreparting.blogspot.com

The interior of The Albion Beatnik store in Oxford. A coffee-house-cum bookshop in Jericho, which also serves as a venue for all kinds of literary and musical events. It’s one of the most magical places in the city and where I made my spoken word debut this year reading from ‘Off-Centre Parting’ on a sofa just behind the table nearest the camera. The first quarter of the novel can be found, in reverse chapter order here: http://offcentreparting.blogspot.com

Here’s Dan Holloway, novelist, poet and the man behind ‘Eight Cuts Gallery’ pretty much as I first encountered him, reading from his work at the 03 Gallery in Oxford. Dan was responsible for putting together Blackwells’ ‘This is Oxford’ where Pop-Wreck! made our Oxford debut. Dan is a tour de force of energy and literary imagination, as well as being one of the nicest, most generous hearted people you could hope to meet. 

Here’s Dan Holloway, novelist, poet and the man behind ‘Eight Cuts Gallery’ pretty much as I first encountered him, reading from his work at the 03 Gallery in Oxford. Dan was responsible for putting together Blackwells’ ‘This is Oxford’ where Pop-Wreck! made our Oxford debut. Dan is a tour de force of energy and literary imagination, as well as being one of the nicest, most generous hearted people you could hope to meet. 

For Facebook friends, here’s Pop-Wreck! (Mark XI) making their Oxford debut. The venue is The Norrington Room at Blackwell’s Bookstore, famous for having the world’s largest display of books. After several years as a four or five piece, Pop-Wreck! had by this point slimmed down to myself (guitar) and Marilou Polymeroupolou (bass). In the six years we’ve existed, Pop-Wreck! have successfully managed to avoid playing the tired old rock pub and club venues, and I see no reason why this should change.

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A few months after making our debut, Pop-Wreck (Mark VIII) played our second show at Hinton Waldrist Village hall. We were joined on vocals by Dean Weaving (of Deano and The Romantics) Only a few seconds of footage were shot, and as you can hear, Dean hadn’t quite found his voice yet. (He’d only been in the band two weeks.) The music went over well though.